During my time at Cornell, I never imagined saying the words “There’s an indie rock concert at Bailey Hall”. This sentence also surprised many of my friends; after all, as we have learned, the stage should belong to Professor Bruce Monger and his loving devotion to our climate.
Soccer Mommy is the stage name of Nashville-born, NYU-educated singer-songwriter Sophie Allison, whose influences range from Taylor Swift to Mitski. As heard on his second album color theory, Allison fills a space between these two artists, combining the heart-and-sleeve style of Swift’s songwriting with the fierce soul of Mitski. The album shows the artist in his raw form of songwriting, adopting a cleaner sound that reinforces his pure voice.
My friend and I were pleasantly surprised when the crowd got to their feet at the start of the concert (although I have to admit it was funny to see a girl sitting around swiping left on Tinder throughout the concert ). This crowd was not one to watch sitting down; these Green Dragon regulars had all gone to Bailey Hall to make it their own 1,300 seater Bowery Ballroom.
Allison kicked off her setlist with the same trilogy of songs that begin color theory, with his band breathing new life into his iconic music. The first single “circle the drain”, the second song of this trilogy, sounded less dark and a bit more impetuous. Gone was the more understated sound of his new album, and in its place were rawer but more propulsive sounds, enhanced by the increased presence of electric guitars. I probably should have expected that. At one point, Allison introduced a song by simply saying “this song is about the devil”, to which the crowd erupted into rapturous applause.
The band frequently jumped between Allison’s latest production and their older music, with standouts from both sides of their discography scattered throughout the setlist. The older, often more upbeat songs fit right in with the live lineup, which were some of the highlights of the concert. “Cool”, a song taken from Soccer Mommy’s 2018 record To cleansounded particularly strong, perfectly capturing Allison’s desire to become exactly what the title implies.
The second half of the concert featured Soccer Mommy’s more effective writing. Midway through that half, the band left the stage, leaving Allison alone with her guitar. She then started playing the first song “Henry”, then followed up with a song from her latest album called “Night Swimming”, which is one of my personal favorites from her catalog. Perhaps it was the stark contrast these two songs offered from the ones before them, but I found both songs, “night swimming” in particular, to be the show’s strongest moments. We all had the chance to sit down, take a breather and listen to Sophie Allison rather than her stage identity.
As “Night Swimming” wrapped up and the band returned to the stage, we all stood up once again for “yellow is the color of her eyes,” which turned out to be the crowd’s personal favorite. The song, which deals with the terminal illness that Allison’s mother had developed as Allison grew up, closed the concert beautifully.
As “yellow is the color of her eyes” was reaching its peak, I remembered my first listen to Soccer Mommy. While I don’t consider myself a die-hard fan (I leave that designation to Tinder girl), I appreciate her honesty and apparent dedication to crafting a tune that would stay in my ear even days after listening to it. And while the sound she presented in Bailey Hall was different from the one she explores on color theoryhis freewheeling independent spirit remained constant throughout the concert, much to the delight of the crowd and myself.
PJ Brown is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at [email protected]